by Ryan Meehan
New about on the field action that might take place in week twelve in the 2014 season was dwarfed by news that was released Tuesday which indicated the NFL will not let star running back and toddler penis mutilator Adrian Peterson play for the remainder of the season. I realize I am only adding fuel to the fire by spreading the news, but I want to point out how little this should mean to NFL fans. The Vikings are a bad team that has no idea who what their quarterback situation is and they weren’t going to make the playoffs even if he rushed for 2500 yards this year. This story is no longer relevant, and as much as I hate the Ravens I admire how they’ve handled their situation comparatively. Nobody should really care about all of this – There are a bunch of killer teams in the league this year, and I’d much rather spend time talking about them than discussing a guy who still pulls his corporal punishment artillery off of trees. The Vikings are ridiculous, so let’s take a good hard look at the rest of the league and check out what I am predicting will go down in week twelve.
Thursday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) -8 at Oakland Raiders (0-10) (42.5)
The Chiefs win here in a couple of different ways: Not only do they get to add another W to their tally, but they get to play their short week game against the Raiders and you can’t beat that kind of draw. Think of how awesome this is for them: You’re coming off of a win in cold weather against the defending Super Bowl champions, and now you get to spend a short week in the Bay area advancing to 8-3 and keeping pace step-for-step with the Broncos. Kansas City won’t expend a lot of energy on this one – they usually don’t anyway but I really don’t expect them to in this game – and they won’t need to. The Raiders are in full tank mode, they are one of the only teams in the league that haws effectively been mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture entirely. I like the Chiefs to put up very mediocre numbers as usual, run the ball a ton, and cover the spread easily. 42.5 for a point total is crazy stupid insane though.
Chiefs 26, Raiders 10
New York Jets (2-8) +4.5 at Buffalo Bills (5-5) (39.5)
I can comfortably say that now the Bills are at .500, all is right with the world. They’re no better than they are average, and although their defense plays well their offensive deficiencies and total lack of any real passing game shuts them off from any chances they would have to snatch up a wild card slot. Kyle Orton at quarterback isn’t making any sense in a very competitive AFC, and it’s too bad it isn’t because they are a top ten defense. They are better than a lot of people give them credit for, but I’m not one of the people who gave them any credit to begin with. They should easily beat the 2-8 Jets led by one Michael Vick. That being said, I can totally see them blowing this game. I don’t foresee that happening, because whenever you play the Jets it’s not just you trying to beat the Jets – they help out and they do so in a very generous manner. Bills cover in what should prove to be a very unimpressive football game.
Bills 17, Jets 9
Cleveland Browns (6-4) +3 at Atlanta Falcons (4-6) (47)
The Browns were in first place in the AFC North last week, and because of their loss to the Texans now they are in last. Such is life in that division, where one wrong move will cripple you and somebody who deserves better treatment is going to miss the playoffs. The Falcons are in the divisional polar opposite, which I am now affectionately referring to as the NFC Slouch. They can’t lose themselves out of playoff contention as long as Carolina, New Orleans, and Tampa are all doing the same thing. The Browns have lost a couple of games that they should have had in the bag. The Jacksonville Jaguars game was one of them, and in all reality the Houston game was another one. After this week they have Buffalo, so these two games are crucial for them because the following week they get Indy and they won’t win that game. They can’t stop the run for shit, which shouldn’t be a problem here because the Falcons are only averaging 96 yards a game on the ground. Atlanta as a 3 point favorite is totally nuts here, even at home. I like the Browns to get back on track here.
Browns 21, Falcons 12
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) +4.5 at Chicago Bears (4-6) (46)
Continuing with my ongoing theme that Jay Cutler can’t be trusted more than a kleptomaniacal houseguest, I’d like to state that this is a very winnable game for Tampa. They could easily come out and run the Bears at Soldier Field, picking off Jay Cutler like he was Eli Manning. Unfortunately, I’d rather be right than happy, so I’m saying this doesn’t happen. The Bucs are completely empty at times, and have guys take drives off constantly. I think that as much as it kills me to say it, the Bears can make the best of that situation. This will be a sloppy ass game that should be low-scoring and very close. Taking the Bears to win but not cover because they are still the Bears.
Bears 17, Bucs 16
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) +1 at Houston Texans (5-5) (43.5)
The not really 6-3-1 Cincinnati Bengals head to Houston this week, in what is a pretty even match-up with the way the Texans have been able to claw their way out of sub-.500 play. The Bengals beat the Saints in New Orleans last week, something that is becoming less and less of an achievement with every passing Sunday. The Texans actually helped Cincinnati out and made sure they were in first place, because they laid one on the Browns who weren’t ready for JJ Watt at all. It’s really a shame that the writers who vote on the MVP award have pretty much just surrendered to the fact that that award will always go to an offensive player. It really saddens me to no end, and it speaks volumes about how the NFL has become a league that protects everything associated with the offense at all costs. This week I look for the Andy Dalton Wheel of Fortune of inconsistent play to land on the “Eats a dick” space, and the Texans I believe will cover here. Unfortunately for them, it’s looking like it’s going to be too little, too late. They are going to have a hell of a time making the playoffs from this point forward during the remainder of Andrew Luck’s career, and especially in years where you have divisions like the one the Bengals play in cranking out four teams with a winning record.
Texans 22, Bengals 13
Detroit Lions (7-3) +7.5 at New England Patriots (8-2) (48)
While the Cardinals/Seahawks match-up is very intriguing for a lot of different reasons, it’s safe to say that this right here could be the game of the week. While Tom Brady put up 42 against a shaky Colts defense last Sunday night, he likely won’t be able to do the same against a team that’s fifth in the league against the pass. And while Jonas Gray ran all over that Indianapolis defense for a few feet short of 200 yards the previous week, he’s not going to accomplish that against a team that allows less than 69 yards per game – the NFL’s best rush defense. The Lions have had a rough two week stretch: They lost to Arizona and then have to fly all the way to Massachusetts to probably lose to the Patriots. I bet they can’t wait to see the Bears on Thanksgiving Day. I like New England to win but not cover, and I expect this line to move a lot before kickoff.
Patriots 23, Lions 17
Green Bay Packers (7-3) -10 at Minnesota Vikings (4-6) (48.5)
I think the best way to analyze Green Bay would be to pick apart their three losses: They opened up the year at Seattle, who had just received its franchise’s first Super Bowl Trophy. Although they went up in that game early, I think we can all agree they didn’t really have a chance at walking out of there with a win. The Seahawks were going to win that game no matter what, and if history has taught us anything you’ll know that the officiating crew would be more than happy to ensure that would happen. The Lions are a really good team, and I chalk up the New Orleans loss to the one bad game every year that a team simply can not wiggle their way out of. So for the most part, the Packers are very close to being an undefeated football team. I love Aaron Rodgers for a lot of different reasons, the foremost one being that he is not afraid to take a hit in the pocket. He takes shots as good as anyone else in the league, but does that make him too prone to injury? Don’t take my word for it, listen to him: “Relax”…Packers cover.
Packers 32, Vikings 20
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) +15 at Indianapolis Colts (6-4) (50.5)
The Jaguars are in a bad way here because no matter who was playing Indy after what happened last week, that team was going to take it in the butt hard. It has to be a real slap in the face to know that you’re a fifteen point dog against a team that lost by 22 at home last week. The psychological torture associated with being on a team like Jacksonville must be a difficult thing to deal with. You can say you don’t read the papers or listen to the media when you’re on a team like that but you don’t need to – you live it every day. You’re a Jag, and there’s nothing you can do to get everybody to think you aren’t a Jag-Off. The Colts are going to be furious about following up a home game in which they were abused in every non-sexual sense of the word. I expect this to be a game where they can be up three touchdowns by the time the first quarter comes to an end. There’s no way TY Hilton is going to be as quiet as he was on Sunday Night Football, so Jacksonville is going to see a lot of him. That could be a problem for a secondary that is 26th in the league against the air attack, and whose starting corners are getting arrested for trying to buy items at liquor stores in Miami Beach at 6AM with chewing gum instead of money. Yeah, that’s a link you’re going to definitely want to check out. I like Indianapolis to cover the spread here, and I like the over on the point total. I also expect the Jaguars to score their standard “17 points when it doesn’t matter” as usual.
Colts 43, Jaguars 17
Tennessee Titans (2-8) +12.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) (48.5)
The Eagles did not look good last week. The Mark Sanchez that we saw in that game was a lot more familiar to those who have watched football the past five years than the one who made Carolina’s defense look like a bunch of untrained high school kids. The Titans actually looked decent for a half against Pittsburgh in the Monday Night game. But their inability to put together a complete 60 minutes of football is killing their long-term stock value, and they are now one of those teams who are stuck at two wins realistically focusing on who will be available on draft day. The Eagles win here, but they don’t cover and against a bad football team there will be questions as to why they only won by a touchdown. Of all the top-tier teams in the NFC, I trust Philadelphia the least. Their three losses this year have come against the 49ers, the Packers, and the Cardinals. If they plan to get anywhere in the postseason, the chances that they are going to have to get through one of those three teams is about as close to 100% as you can get.
Eagles 24, Titans 17
St. Louis Rams (4-6) +4.5 at San Diego Chargers (6-4) (43.5)
I’ve been enjoying me some St. Louis Rams this year. There’s something about that team that I can’t put my finger on but enjoy the living hell out of. Perhaps it’s the fact that you have to assume everybody on that team with a high football IQ knows good and well the playoffs are not a realistic possibility in the near future, but those guys come out every week and give the best teams in the league their A game. Even though I do believe that you’re only as good as your record, I am coming out and telling you right now that the Rams are much better than 4-6. Conversely, it’s a very good possibility that the Chargers aren’t as good as 6-4. They lost three in a row before last week, and just as everyone was saying they could end up being every bit the threat they were last year, their offense has completely shut down. If this game were in St. Louis, I would take the Rams in a heartbeat. But since it isn’t, I believe they will be out of their element. I like San Diego to cover in what shouldn’t be a very high scoring game, so take note on the under for the point total.
Chargers 20, Rams 10
Arizona Cardinals (9-1) +7 at Seattle Seahawks (6-4) (42)
Before we down to Xs and Os, the line on this game is bonkers and speaks volumes about how little faith people have in the Cardinals. Listen, everybody…The Seahawks are not unstoppable. This game represents what is essentially crunch time for Seattle. After the loss to Dallas, we found out that they weren’t invincible at home. And while the Giants loss taught us absolutely nothing, their inability to run the ball late in the Kansas City game was very disconcerting if you are a Seahawks fan. The Cardinals know they can win with Drew Stanton – He’s done very well in his career so far, but the three hours in which this game takes place are going to be a living hell for that kid. But while he’s on the sidelines getting pelted with insults, he can rest confidently knowing that Arizona’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is sending his guys out there to retrieve buckets of blood. Bowles & Co. have brought tons of A gap pressure this year to fantastic results. Even with all that said, I do like Seattle to win here but not to cover. If they lose, they’re 6-5 and that entire team could fall apart. It won’t happen at home, and I hope to God I’m wrong.
Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17
Miami Dolphins (6-4) +8 at Denver Broncos (7-3) (49)
I really do believe that Miami has a shot to win here. They can stop up the middle pretty effectively, and if we learned anything from Denver last week it’s that running the football is going to be a problem for them in the weeks ahead. They can probably take a tip from St. Louis’ playbook and get in Peyton’s head early and often. One of the things that ESPN fails to mention in between slobbering all over Peyton is the fact that mentally, it’s a very effective strategy to mess with his head a little bit. I think that if you blitz early and knock him around a lot on the first couple of drives, you can do just that. It takes him out of the untouchable feeling he has when he’s in complete control of a game. In other words, it’s important to make sure that he never has that control in the first place. That being said I like Denver to win, but not to cover. Miami has execution problems at times, and even though they are only giving up 208 yards a game in the air that stat has come at the hands of some real bad teams. The Broncos are hardly that.
Broncos 27, Dolphins 20
Washington Redskins (3-7) +10.5 at San Francisco 49ers (6-4) (44)
I’ve always thought that when these two teams meet each other, the color scheme of their uniforms and helmets have to be the most nauseating combination in the NFL. With all of the gold and red being tossed around, it almost looks like somebody vomited a bunch of smuggled jewelry onto a used tampon. Now that you have that visual stuck in your craw, try to not remain nauseous when you remember that the Redskins were taken out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the tune of 27-7 at home. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has made it very clear that he isn’t buying the Robert Griffin hype, which as I’ve stated before should have died the second Washington lost to Seattle in the playoffs two years ago. Daniel Snyder’s team is really bad, and they are getting dangerously close to fire sale territory. (Take out the Dallas game and their only other wins have been against the Jaguars and Titans) The 49ers are now 6-4, but with the way their season has gone it certainly doesn’t feel like they are the threat and Super Bowl contender they once were twelve short months ago. They picked off Eli Manning five times last week and almost lost that game. There’s a lot we don’t know about the mood in that locker room, and although I can’t say for sure it probably isn’t a cheerful one. Their coach is gone no matter what happens at the end of this year, and their quarterback seemed like a good guy when his career started but now his tattoos are getting tattoos of their own and his attitude towards his role as a leader is terrible. As much as I’d love to pick an upset in which the 49ers get completely exposed, it’s hard for me to do that after the lack of effort the Redskins put forth last week. Combine that with the fact that their roster looks like a bad joke, and it looks like the ruse of San Francisco will continue on for at least another week. Niners cover.
49ers 21, Redskins 6
Sunday Night Football: New York Giants (3-7) -3 at Dallas Cowboys (7-3) (47.5)
A fitting warm-up to the annual Thanksgiving Day meeting hosted by the Cowboys, Dallas welcomes the New Jersey football shitheads into Big D for another Cris Collinsworth-filled episode of Sunday Night Football. It’s unlikely Eli Manning will get to equal his total interceptions from last week, which is a shame because even as a fan it would be sort of entertaining to see him throw ten picks in eight days. I say that lovingly because I am a fan, but I am also well aware that their season is over. A loss here would mathematically eliminate them from the playoff hunt, which wouldn’t be much of an adjustment seeing as how mentally they are already there. They’re also the worst second and fourth quarter team in the NFL, which is a disaster of a stat heading into a week where they find themselves facing the Cowboys. Dallas is coming off a bye week, and they are in pretty good shape at 7-3. I still can’t help but wonder how much better shape they’d be in had they won the Washington game, but that’s water under the bridge and it’s a tough league. DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant should have a field day here, as the Giants are now last in the league against the run and their secondary resembles a wet paper bag. The line in this game is a gift. Seriously, you don’t think the Cowboys are only three point better than the Giants are right now? Easy money.
Cowboys 27, Giants 7
Monday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens (6-4) +3 at New Orleans Saints (4-6) (50)
It seems like almost every week I’m sitting here saying that this is the week New Orleans had better get their shit together. Fortunately for them, it doesn’t seem like they will ever really have to. The lack of urgency that the rest of their division has put forth seems to be rubbing off on the Saints who are now tied for first with Atlanta, and got gouged last week at home at the hands of Andy Dalton. Cheeto Head made them look stupid in their own building, but like I said earlier that’s not a real big achievement in the Superdome anymore. While the Saints can lose this game and still win this division, I would have to think that this game is a must win for Baltimore. The Browns aren’t going to give away games every week, and even though it will probably come down to week seventeen if the Chiefs are still playing as good as they are only two teams from the North will get in. I have no explanation as to why the Ravens are underdogs in this game – It’s a stupid ass line. I’m taking them.
Ravens 24, Saints 21
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